Stajcic declares Kerr on her way to joining world's elite

Sam Kerr's stunning recent form in the US points to her ability to become one of the world's best players, says Matildas coach Alen Stajcic.

Sam Kerr

Sam Kerr in action for Sky Blue FC Source: Sky Blue FC

Stajcic rates some aspects of 23-year-old Kerr's game as already leading the way in world football and that if she can improve in the areas she knows she needs to work on, the sky is the limit.

Kerr has been named player of the week in the National Women's Soccer League after a two-goal, one-assist performance for New Jersey-based Sky Blue FC in a 3-1 win over Portland Thorns FC last Saturday.

Third-placed Sky Blue have played 10 games and versatile forward Kerr is near the top in all of the key attacking statistics: equal fourth for goals scored (four) and shots (23), second for shots on target (17) and equal second for assists (three).

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"Sam's one of those players who can do anything at the moment," Stajcic told The World Game. "Her mobility is unbelievable. Her movement, on and off the ball, is the best in the world, I think.

"As long she can add a bit of execution to her finishing there's no reason she can't be one of the best players in the world in the coming years. Performances like that one for Sky Blue are taking her in that direction."



The coach said Kerr would be a vital component for the Matildas in the blockbuster four-nation tournament against the US, Japan and Brazil in the US starting on July 27.

"It will be a massive challenge for us and the American-based girls will have to be the foundation of our team for this tournament," he said.

"They play their last competition game only five days before we start the tournament against the US, while a lot of our regular players aren't playing at the moment because their leagues have ended.

"This tournament is against some of the best teams in the world and it will be important to have players like Sam fit and in form.

"She had a great W-League season [receiving the Julie Dolan Medal winner as best player in the W-League for Perth Glory] and now she has come off the back of that and is doing the same exploits over there.



Stajcic said Kerr was now beginning to develop the consistency she wasn't able to get when injuries were interrupting her career.

"She's had a bit of roller coaster of a career and now she's finally hitting her straps and adding consistency week by week," he said.

"We saw it at Perth Glory last season. She was virtually player of the match every game.

"She's just so explosive and unpredictable, so fluent. She's the kind of player you just wouldn't want to mark.

"Sam could be one of the best goal-scorers for our country and that's a target she has set herself. As long as she keeps working on the execution part of her game, there's nothing to stop her."

Stajcic said the Matildas would gather in the US on July 21 for final preparations.

"This is a development phase for us and the start of a four-year cycle and as many matches as we can get prior to next year's Asian Cup we'll be testing out different players and styles of play to see what works and what doesn't," he said.

"Unfortunately we've got some key players affected by injury. Kyah Simon is out for a few more months after reconstructions on each shoulder and Michelle Heyman is still rehabbing after injury. I'm only going to take fit players to the US, probably a squad of around 21."


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4 min read
Published 23 June 2017 at 4:02pm
By Greg Prichard